Scouting deer on small properties – make the most of trail cameras
My favorite way to scout deer is to sit with a spotting scope and watch them. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. On big enough properties, with the right agricultural fields or clear cuts, it’s easy enough. On small parcels, this isn’t always possible.
I’ve got a couple of hunting spots that meet the criteria of being too small to glass. That leaves me with fewer options for deciphering deer movement, especially at the critical time when bucks transition from velvet- to hard-antlered. For these situations, I lean heavily on trail cameras.
Most of my cameras are positioned on trails and travel routes, and although I don’t get tons of photos of feeding bucks, I do tend to get some valuable information out of the images of traveling bucks. Occasionally they cruise by during daylight hours, and once in a while the cameras capture enough pictures to show some sort of vulnerability in a buck’s pattern.
Most of the time, however, they just confirm the neighborhood bucks do occasionally pass through my small properties. That’s about as good as I can ask and is always enough to get me excited for the opener, and keep me excited after opening bell rings. Cameras also give me a good excuse to stay out of my smaller parcels, which has the consequence of keeping more deer around.
If you’re stuck hunting 30-acre-or-less deer ground, it might be best to let a few cameras do the heavy lifting for you. It’s not as fun as peering through a spotting scope, but it can help you preserve better deer movement – and deer hunting – longer into the season.